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Showing posts from May, 2012

Can the self-destruction of the newspaper industry be stopped before it’s too late?

The past few days in the newspaper industry have been a long time coming. The easy explanation for the announced reduction in daily editions in New Orleans, Alabama, and Canada would be to blame the internet. This is only a bit true. The downward spiral of newspapers began years, even decades, ago. They just got greedy.

This is Sunday’s edition of The Tennessean side by side with the August 9, 1945 edition of the defunct Nashville Banner. The first thing that grabs me is that the Banner page is almost twice as large as the one from The Tennessean. The second thing that grabs me is how the front page of The Tennessean is full of white space and filler. The graphic above the masthead takes up nearly one-fourth of the whole page!

The Banner is full of actual news. In fact, it overflows with news – hence the name NEWSPAPER!

The actual news started disappearing from the pages of the newspaper in the 70’s. The newspapers themselves made the decisions to shrink pages and publish less actual new…

Magnavox D8443 Power Player

This monster is so big that it takes up most of the kitchen table.

It is a Magnavox D8443 Power Player. My father-in-law rescued it from the surplus pile at his school this week. Other than being gigantic, it has another surprise – it is also a shortwave radio covering 2.3 to 21.7 megahertz.

That’s right – it’s a boom box from the early 80’s that covers most of the shortwave band and does it quite well. The radio has fantastic shortwave reception – it’s as good as my Eton G5 and, thanks to the huge speakers, sounds much better. AM reception is also fantastic. Surprisingly, FM is just average. This is not an FM DX machine as only the local stations come in. I’m actually a bit surprised, considering that the AM and Shortwave band reception is above average on this radio.

It still needs more cleaning. The volume knob is really scratchy and not connecting well at all. There are quite a few knobs to clean on this radio so it’s going to take a little time.

Of course, after almost 30 years i…

We Are Still Married

(My apologies to Garrison Keillor fans as this entry has nothing to do with his book though it did inspire the title.)
As of this very afternoon, I have been married sixteen years to a woman who apparently has the patience of a saint. I have never awoke to find her hovering over me about to cover my snoring mouth with a pillow. I have no evidence that she ever attempted to drain the brake fluid from my car. These things amaze me.

They amaze me for many reasons but first and foremost because were not old enough or wise enough to realize how difficult marriage would be. It took about 25 minutes to complete the ceremony and about five years to figure out how to truly be married. The “up times” were good but the “down times” were valleys. I’m still not sure how we made it through it all.

I was a pain – difficult at times, selfish at times. I came with enough baggage to fill the trunk of a taxi cab.
My expectations were unrealistic. My sneezes are very loud. I only like the toilet paper to co…

Why I’m watching America’s Got Talent

Who would have thought it? I am actually choosing to watch America’s Got Talent this year.

The kids have always enjoyed all of the acts so it’s been on in our house just about every summer but I typically zoned out. That’s changed now with the addition of Howard Stern.

Who would have thought it? Howard Stern is the final piece of the America’s Got Talent Puzzle. I did not like David Hasselhoff. I did not like Piers Morgan. Howard Stern is the perfect fit with Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel, and Nick Cannon.

Why is that? You need to throw out every misconception you might have about Howard Stern. Instead of filling in the grouchy role of Piers Morgan or a mean jock shock shell of a person, Howard Stern is incredibly supportive and seems genuinely excited not only to be part of the show but also, and most importantly, for the individual acts. I think he brings an energy to the rest of the show that everyone is feeding off of.

What you end up with is fun. If the act is awful, Howard Stern m…

Robin Gibb

We lose Donna Summer last week and start this week losing Robin Gibb. It’s weird to think that disco music is so old now that we are losing the disco stars. However, Robin Gibb and the Bee Gees were a lot more than a disco act.

Here are a few of my favorite Bee Gees songs.  It wasn’t until the late 80’s during my Simon & Garfunkel phase that I bought the Bee Gees Gold cassette at Tower Records and got into some of their older, non-disco music. It was around this same time that the Bee Gees also had new music on the radio.
Below, from Bee Gees Gold, is Massachusetts (My favorite Bee Gees song) and I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You. Below that is Alone from 1997 and One from 1989.

Stormy Saturday

This is what happens when I wash the car. An alarm must go off somewhere in the atmosphere which triggers three inches of rain, hail, and 65 mph wind.

The best part is that I was out in the one car left that didn’t have hail dings all over it. I guess it was feeling left out.

So, the cars were clean for about an hour. In other news, I made my weekly trip to Walmart and only spent $79. I don’t know how they will get by. I am getting more and more disappointed in my trips to Walmart. Today I bought the only suction cup mirror they sell for the shower, came home and opened the package to find a scratch all the way across it. The quality control they have in place is FANTASTIC. I keep thinking more and more of buying all of my stuff at other places but there is no other place in town with one stop shopping and I’m just too lazy to go to two (or three depending on the sales) places.

Let’s see – what else happened today? My tongue stiches vanished so I am one step closer to talking normally ag…

My Guide to Buying Store or Off Brands vs. Name Brands

Yesterday, I gave you my opinion on vacuums so I thought I might as well keep the excitement going and give you my thoughts on Brand Name Products versus Store or Off Brands.

I speak from much experience. I shop at the Walmart just about every week.

There are four people in this house plus two dogs so we go through a lot of stuff. We also clip coupons though we are not coupon crazy people with huge binders that buy five to ten papers a week. I have a life and I am already flying through middle age too fast to waste time doing all of that.

Things You Should NEVER Buy Store or Off Brands Of:
Window cleaners – you might as well just throw some blue food dye in water and use that because it would probably work just as wellJust about any other cleaning supply – I’ve never had an off brand cleaner work as good as a store brand. They are ALL watered down.Anything dental – toothpaste, mouthwash, you name it. Don’t do it. Walmart was out of Johnson & Johnson Reach Floss a few weeks back so …

My 3 year old Electrolux Versatility Vacuum Bites The Dust

Why would I write about something so boring as a vacuum? So other people don’t make the same mistake I did.

Now you can buy this vacuum for $99 refurbished at Big Lots. Don’t do it. They probably have thousands of refurbished units since everyone is complaining about the same part dying on these vacuums – the brush roller. Check out Amazon for similar complaints.

Unfortunately, ours was full price and it dies 3 years and 4 months after purchase. I had a $40 Eureka that I bought as a Thanksgiving Day special that lasted me almost 8 years and was still running when I gave it to the thrift store. It’s probably still running today. Did it have the power of the Electrolux? No. But, it also didn’t clog up every 20 minutes either. I think I spent more time cleaning filters on this super heavy monster than I did actually using it. It’s been a nightmare. It’s also as loud as a jet engine plus the wheels started squeaking about a year ago. I can only compare the squeaking to someone running thei…

Bite your tongue!

I had my return visit to the doctor today for “the procedure”.

Here’s the lowdown: sometime around Christmas, I apparently (I don’t remember) bit my tongue. 99% of these things heal back right. Mine did not. I ended up with scar tissue. So, this little bump protruded out and then I bit it again because it was sticking out a bit. It’s gone now after getting an injection, a snip, and some stiches.

It feels weird. It doesn’t really hurt – it just feels weird. And, the weird feeling makes me talk weird. It does get sore when I eat and the more sore it gets, the more weird talking gets. Things are supposed to be back to normal by Monday or Tuesday and I go back on Friday to have it checked and get the results of the biopsy though he feels pretty good that this is really nothing. I think it’s a “don’t sue us” deal.

So, I’m staying quieter than usual this weekend and everyone is pretty pleased about that.


We observed Mother’s Day a week early due to my upcoming Friday appointment with the doctor and the vocal rest that is supposed to follow. Lindsay and I took off to my hometown to see what kind of mischief we could get into.

We started with a trip to the mall to get cards and stuff. It sure has gotten dumpy and sort of dark so I didn’t take any pictures to commemorate that part of the trip. I did take pictures when we went to the Red Lobster.

This is the Red Lobster that was my mother’s favorite place to take me way back when (starting back in the 70’s when even the mall was nice and new). We continued those trips up until about 6 or 7 years ago but she is no longer able to do those things with her health issues so we decided to get to-go food there and bring it to her as part of early Mother’s Day.

Of course, Lindsay and I had to eat there first. So many decisions:

I think her main goal was to get dessert.

Then we were off to see my parents. I drove the mighty Ford Contour and we did ma…


For just a second, it was 1986 again every time I’ve heard the Beastie Boys over the years. We kept changing and they kept evolving. They took what might have seemed like a gimmick at first and turned it into an art. They embraced the changes (from cassettes to the internet) and kept coming back with new music and stayed popular. They kept connecting with not only those of us who have known them for their whole careers but also those who came after us. There are not a lot of things that have that staying power.

It’s hard for me to believe that Adam Yauch was 47. In one way, I’m surprised since he sounded frozen in his 20’s on every record since ‘86. In another way, I can’t believe we’re so close in age. That’s a bit scary and 47 seems way too young.